Volume Editor's Introduction

in Autobiography and Other Writings

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780226143712
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226143736 | DOI:
Volume Editor's Introduction

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Ana de San Bartolomé's life and writings reveal much about the situation of religious women in early modern Spain, yet her voice is also unique, the product of specific social circumstances, individual psychology, and religious fervor. Ana's participation in Saint Teresa of Avila's religious reform of the late sixteenth century became the center of her life and provided an opportunity for self-expression in words and actions normally denied women of her background. Semiliterate when she entered the Discalced Carmelite Convent of Saint Joseph of Avila in 1570, Ana became one of the most prolific writers of the order, although many of her works remained unpublished until well after her death. These works include more than 600 letters, a spiritual autobiography, detailed accounts of the Teresian reform, lectures for younger nuns, and many devotional texts. As companion and nurse to Teresa of Avila, Ana participated in the advance of the Carmelite reform throughout Spain and later was influential in its establishment in France and the Low Countries.

Keywords: Ana de San Bartolomé; Spain; Saint Teresa of Avila; religious reform; autobiography; Discalced Carmelite Convent; France; psychology; religious women; religious fervor

Chapter.  11795 words. 

Subjects: Christianity

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